There’s some Facebook meme that’s gone around featuring a paragraph in which the spelling of every word is shuffled and folks are challenged to read it anyway. From the comments I’ve seen, it appears most people understand it, piece of cake. The exercise demonstrates how the human brain doesn’t read letter by letter, but word by familiar word. As a fast reader, I assume that's how I do it, and it's no help at all when I’m trying to catch my own terrible typos.
I spent the last week reading the latest draft of my current work in progress out loud. If you are a regular reader of Middle Passages you
surely probably most likely absolutely
may have noted that typing, spelling and punctuation are not my strong suits. I
can’t tell you how many times I go back and read a post I wrote then edited, edited, edited and published, only to discover typos. Argh. Drives
me crazy, because I know you see them, too. So, anyway, I am aware of my challenges in this regard and trust me. Over the course of an eighty-three-thousand
word draft, there’s a lot of proofreading to do.
Since we don’t speak as fast as our eyes devour a page, reading out loud forces us to slow down, to concentrate on each word, which is when the booboos percolate up. When I read out loud, I find where I’ve used the wrong tense, forgot a word, or plopped in the wrong spelling. This week, it also helped me to identify spots where the story is weak, where I need some interior thoughts to help to spell out what is happening in my characters' brains. So I add a sentence here and there. That means more proofing. Ugh.
I want so much to be done. But I’m not there yet. Soon though. I say that a lot. It’s the only way I can sooth my
typo-ridden punctuation-challenged awful spelling will-I-ever-finish-with-this soul.
What tricks do you use to edit your own manuscript?